Sonic Agenda Exclusive Interview: Hippie Sabotage

Hippie Sabotage a.ka. Jeff and Kevin Saurer are extremely talented music producers from Sacramento, CA with an added bonus of being brothers. They have continued to gain recognition since the release of ‘The Sunny Album‘ back in 2014 as they take festival line-ups by storm, and tour wold-wide. Tonight I have the pleasure of sitting down with Jeff and Kevin before they own the stage at the House of Blues in Boston, MA. This is one of the many stops for them as their Path of Righteousness Tour continues, so let’s see how they’re doing tonight!

Welcome to Boston guys! How long have you been here and what do you think so far?

Kevin: We’ve been here probably like 6 or 7 hours, but we absolutely love the city of Boston. Before we even did shows here we saw a game at Fenway, so that’s like our happy memory of Boston. Being here with our family and everything.

You guys are true Bostonians! Check out a Red Sox game and you’re cool in our book! But, let’s take it back to where it all first started for you guys. Were you into music growing up? What kind of music were you into? What made you pursue this musical career that’s absolutely taken off for the two of you?

Jeff: Yeah, we listened to music growing up like rap and classic rock, but we really got into music from skateboarding. We used to make skate videos of ourselves when we were kids and we wanted to have our own music behind it, so we used to poke around on the computer and make little sounds. Then, I started taking guitar and music lessons when I was in middle school and we’ve been making music ever since.

Kevin: Just to kind of give you a window of what we were listening to, we were listening to Mobb Deep, their CD ‘Amerikaz Nightmare, and we had ‘Nirvana’s Greatest Hits. Those were the only two CDs in the car. Was definitely an interesting summer for us just listening to the same thing. 

You guys have such a unique and inspirational sound, it’s so different from a lot of other music producers that you hear in this EDM genre, so how would you describe your sound personally to first time listeners/someone who has never heard it before?

Kevin:  Beach bass, you know like a real cool sound. We made a lot of our initial records when we were living in San Diego, so I think the ocean plays a big part.

Jeff: We came up being rap producers. We’d be the person in the background making beats for people and then people really liked our beats and were like ‘I just want to hear the beats’, so then it sort of led into that. Then, we were making music and beats before everyone listened to EDM and beats by just the producers were acceptable, so that’s why I think people think we have a unique sound. We come from a place where we’re not copying anyone else from the electronic music scene because we never listed to that scene. We came up listening to rap and classic rock and like all the other stuff and now we’re just part of that culture.

Kevin: Which has also been like a very interesting and psychedelic experience… to go to places we’re not familiar with and play festivals of all different types. It’s been a very interesting and exciting journey.

What was one of your favorite festivals that you’ve played at and why?

Jeff: Pemberton music festival in Canada was really fun.

Kevin: Bumbershoot in Seattle.

Jeff: Coachella 2016

Kevin: We just killed it, there’s no other way to say it! Those first two in particular, we just did really good. It was a huge, huge crowd and it was unexpected both times, so it was awesome!

Jeff: The festival crowd varies on the craziness, so when it is super crazy, that’s always when it’s the most fun.

What is your favorite type of environment to create your music in?

Jeff: Four blocks away from the beach with some coffee.

Kevin: We live in Venice like 4-5 blocks away from the beach. We just like to wake up in the morning, relax, and focus on what we’re going to create for the day. Pretty simple, straight forward, process!

So, it’s no surprise you guys are brothers. Does being related ever get in the way of producing music together?

Jeff: Well I didn’t want to put out the song ‘Stay High, but then Kevin comes in and just puts it on SoundCloud one day and goes ‘I put out that song’!

Kevin: And it’s killin it!

Jeff: It is, but really it never inhibits us. It always helps us because we can be extra honest with each other and when we’re mean to each other it’s all in good fun.

Kevin: Yeah we’re all pretty relaxed, I think my parents like Brandon and my sister Chelsea more than they like me and Jeff, but it all works out! (laughing)

What’s your favorite part about touring together and spending so much time together?

Kevin: Well since we spent every moment together when we were kids, we thought ‘why not do that as adults’?! Honestly though, all jokes aside, it’s great. I love touring with my brother, we’ve been best friends since we were kids. It’s crazy to see the thing that we created just grow and morph and be in the universe the way that it is. We love it.

I know you guys came from the rap background, but who has inspired you the most while creating your music?

Jeff: Dr. Dre, J Dilla, DJ Premiere over on the production side, then over on the other side… Jimmy Hendrix, the Doors, Pink Floyd, Janice Joplin, Eric Clapton… all the old school Hippie stuff. We grew up in Sacramento, California, which is like an hour outside of San Francisco, so we used to go to Giants games growing up and go into the Haight District and do all that stuff.

Kevin: We grew up kind of like idealizing the hippie culture and it’s been stuck in our brains from since when we were kids, for sure.

In your opinion, how do you see this genre developing over the next 5-10 years?

Jeff: I think its evolving into something new. I think it started as more of just the DJ side and then EDM got defined as like playing other people’s music, not your own, but now were pushing towards just playing your own music. People consider us DJs, but every single song we’re playing is ours. We’re not filling our sets with another ‘Dubstep’s greatest hits’, it’s all our music. Whether it’s an up-tempo, jumping beat or a slow, guitar, singing song, we just make it more of an original thing.

How do you prepare for your shows? What does a typical ritual look like for you guys?

Kevin: Some Coronas, Budweiser… honestly were pretty low key with it. We’re pretty animated while we’re on stage, but we try and be calm and focused before we go out there. We shake hands and we say ‘crazy, crazy, crazy’ every time before we walk out there. Jeff always walks out first. I think we’re pretty relaxed with it.

Jeff: We’ve been at a festival before sleeping in a tent, on the grass, on the ground two minutes before we go on stage.

That’s awesome and you guys still kill it! Well that’s all for tonight. Thank you both so much for taking the time to sit down with me and I look forward to seeing your show tonight!

HS: You definitely will be entertained!

Check out their SoundCloud for latest releases and beach bass vibes!

Photo Credit: Isné Bobo Nuyent ~ @bobo.xxndigo